Dispute among Philly's building trades unions

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Inside, patrons play the slots. Outside, unions are in disagreement over who should build signs at the Parx Casino expansion in Bucks County.

Building Trades Council leader John Dougherty has scheduled a meeting Friday morning with union leaders a week after Gary J. Masino resigned as the president of a key BTC subcommittee, the Mechanical Trades District Council of Delaware Valley. Masino is president and business manager of Local 19 of the Sheet Metal Workers International Union. In his resignation letter, Masino says he is resigning over a conflict of interest, accusing another union in the Mechanical Trades of raiding his members’ work.

According to sources, the dispute is between the sheet metal workers union and the electricians’ union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 98, over who should do work on electronic signs constructed at projects on Market Street and at the Parx Casino in Bucks County.

Ordinarily, Dougherty, as leader of BTC, would resolve such jurisdictional disputes. Dougherty is also president of Local 98, and as president of that local, is a member of the Mechanical Trades, which includes unions representing electricians, boilermakers, sprinkler fitters, and plumbers. Without mentioning Dougherty’s name or union, Masino said that the “raiding” union failed to see “the conflict between their deliberate and premeditated theft of another trade’s work” and its leadership role in the BTC.

Dougherty’s spokesman, Frank Keel, could not be reached for comment.